The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

Memorial of Saint Anthony

Tue, 01/17/2017
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

The Pharisees have their fingers in many pies
….constantly on the alert for deviant religious behavior.
They were helicopter religious leaders, overly protective of rituals and rules,
excessively interested in their charges.
Jesus is the new rabbi on the block.  He’s drawing a crowd.  He’s collecting disciples.
It’s obvious they don’t trust him.  Otherwise, why would they be keeping an eye on him?
The Pharisees seem to be meddling in Jesus’ affairs.
To meddle is to involve oneself in a matter without right or invitation.
It is imposing one’s self in the affairs of another often with the intention of altering the situation.
Sometimes meddling is mischievous….entailing the element of humor.
But not so with the Pharisees.  Their intrusion is serious business for them.
They purposely put Jesus under surveillance so as to monitor his behavior.
They weren’t looking for a reason to praise him, to affirm his work, to marvel at his wisdom.
They were there to keep him in check.  Make sure he didn’t cross the line.
Meddling comes with the connotation of unwanted interference.
It’s one thing to be genuinely and lovingly and rightfully concerned.
It’s one thing to protect those who cannot protect themselves
from exploitation, abuse, inhumane treatment, violence.
It’s one thing to ask “by what authority do you do these things?”
It’s another thing to discredit, insult, belittle, sabotage,
to shoot down and destroy the opposition.
The Pharisees just couldn’t let Jesus be.
And no matter how Jesus answered them, addressed their concerns, they were never satisfied.
Does it belong to the call of the Christian to meddle in the affairs of others?
How often do we unknowingly shed our Christian identity and take on the skin of the Pharisee?
The Church has been accused of meddling in the affairs of others.
Birth control.  Abortion.  Social justice.  Government policies.
Do I want my Christian faith to have a bearing on these concerns?  You bet.
They are all matters that impact how we live together as human beings.
And I for one don’t want to live in an evil society.
To try to influence and convince others to avoid sin
and to pursue what is good and true  and loving and valuable and moral
lies at the heart of the Christian life.
What is of importance here is that it is Jesus, by his word and by the outpouring of his Spirit,
who determines what makes for a good life.
There’s one thing the Pharisees got right:  they were concerned about sin,
about remaining faithful to their covenant, their sacred agreement, with God.
Their mistake was to become overly concerned about the sin of others
while neglecting, ignoring, even denying their own sin.
Their mistake was elevating human preferences to the rank and status of divine command.
Jesus came into this world to save humanity from sin.  The victory of his cross is victory over sin. 
If we aren’t concerned about sin…if we don’t think about sin, try to understand sin,
become conscious and aware of sin, expend energy and attention to avoid sin,
then in all probability our reasons for being Christian are superficial at best.
Our prayer today:  “O Lord, grant me the wisdom to know when it’s time to speak up and when it’s time to remain silent.   Help me to practice self-restraint when it comes to meddling.  Amen!”